Sotheby's Overhauls Fees

February 5 2024

Image of Sotheby's Overhauls Fees


Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Sotheby's announced a major overhaul of their fees structure last week. In an effort to standardise and simplify buyers premiums the new rate will be 20 percent of the hammer price for works up to $6 million. Works sold above $6 million will then be charged at 10%. This represents a lowering of buyers premium, aimed to 'provide buyers with increased spending power.'

Equally, sellers too will face changes. The auction house have introduced a uniform seller's commission of 10% on the first $500,000 hammer price per lot. Lots above $500,000 will not be charges sellers commission (see link for precise details).

According to the company's CEO Charles Stewart:

Since 1979, when Sotheby’s first introduced buyer’s premium in our salerooms, the market has largely shifted the transaction burden onto buyers. The result has been high costs for buyers and tiered commission structures that require a calculator to even understand, as well as an entirely opaque fee structure for sellers which distracts from what is most important to them. We are confident our simplified and clarified terms will benefit both buyers and sellers going forward.

The new structure will affect consigners from 15th April 2024 onwards, and buyers from 20th May 2024 onwards.

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